Disney’s Polynesian Resort Review

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is a deluxe hotel at Walt Disney World (and soon to be Disney Vacation Club resort) that is themed to the South Pacific, with a distinct retro tiki culture styling. It is one of Walt Disney World’s original hotels, and recently reverted to its Polynesian “Village” name after years of just being Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Regardless of its official name, it’s known to most Disney fans simply as “the Poly.” It’s considered a village because of its sprawling layout comprised of 11 longhouses (hotel buildings) plus the Great Ceremonial House, which is the main lobby where the restaurants, shops, etc. are located.

We have long been fans of the Poly. For me, it dates back to when I was a kid, walking from Shades of Green to the Poly for the monorail, and going to the Neverland Club while my parents went to Pleasure Island. As adults, Sarah and I have spent a ton of time at the Poly despite never staying there. I even proposed to Sarah on the beach of the Polynesian during the fireworks back when we got engaged. We’ve since been back numerous times for dining and other purposes, but hadn’t stayed there until this year. Whenever we’ve wanted to do a stay in a Deluxe Resort, other options always had better discounts, so it was always on our “someday” list.

The point with all of this is that all of this build-up created pretty lofty expectations for the Poly. While we enjoy the hotel, we don’t think it’s quite worthy of the high praise it receives. It’s still an excellent resort, but it seems to be the overwhelming top pick for hotels at Walt Disney World, and we’re not quite that enthusiastic about it. As is the case with all Walt Disney World on-site hotels, Polynesian Village Resort guests receive MagicBands and can make FastPass+ reservations. Learn more about this in our MyMagic+ FAQ.

Before that, let’s take a look at the positives. The Poly is just a flat out cool resort. It has a ton of incredibly detailed tikis scattered around the grounds that were carved by Oceanic Arts in California. I could spend a morning just wandering around looking at these, and their cheeky designs always make me smile. In general, the Polynesian has a very enjoyable ambiance thanks to its many details and the general island ambiance that is so well conveyed, even if the resort is more a lighthearted caricature (not at all in a bad way) of island life than it is an attempt at authenticity. The feel of the Poly is a definite X-factor that might override all criticism below. In terms of theme, this is far and away my #1 resort at Walt Disney World.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Now through approximately March 2015, extensive lobby, restaurant, and pool renovations, plus construction to add Disney Vacation Club villas, are occurring at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. During this time, we strongly recommend booking a stay elsewhere.

In terms of layout, I think the Polynesian Resort will satisfy a variety of guests. I’ve stated in numerous reviews that I like resorts that are spread out, giving me plenty to explore in the mornings. I think this has perplexed a lot of commenters, who generally seem to favor compact layouts for the efficiency’s sake. The Poly is not as spread out as Coronado Springs or Caribbean Beach Resort, making it easy to walk to the Great Ceremonial House in the morning no matter the longhouse in which you’re staying. Despite this ease of access, there’s still a lot to explore, making those who prefer the sprawling “resort” layout (like me) happy. The only resort that does a better job of striking this balance is probably Wilderness Lodge (Grand Floridian also does it well).

Exploring the Polynesian is a ton of fun, too. I’ve long held the opinion that sunsets at the Polynesian are more beautiful than sunsets anywhere else at Walt Disney World, and after this trip, I’m convinced that the same is true of sunrises. One of the great things about staying at the Poly was getting up early and enjoying the resort with no one else around. Both mornings we were there, I got up well before sunrise to walk around, take photos, and soak up the ambiance. If it weren’t for wanting to take photos, I think I could have just lied in a hammock listening to the relaxing background music for an hour or so as the sun came up.

If you do stay at the Poly, consider it our mandate that you get up at least one morning to enjoy the sunrise (we have no means of enforcement, but trust us…do it). The ambiance at the Polynesian is always great, but with no one around at sunrise, you only have the sounds of the background music, the monorails, and boats doing test runs, making it feel like the perfect mix of being away from civilization in the tropics and being at Walt Disney World. The resort has a similar beauty at sunset, but the ambiance is not nearly as good. Since everyone else is awake, the resort is hustling and bustling. It may not sound fun to get up early on vacation, but try it sometime. I guarantee that it’ll be worth it!

IMG_1104 as Smart Object-1 copy

We also enjoy simply hanging out in the Great Ceremonial House. While it does have some issues with datedness (discussed below), overall, it has some great ambiance. The open air atrium and waterfall in the middle of the lobby simultaneously add kinetic energy and a relaxed, spa-like atmosphere. It seems unlikely that a Disney hotel built today would devote so much space to a water fixture like this, especially one that occupies valuable real estate. It definitely makes the lobby a nice place to lounge around.

Fortunately, the Great Ceremonial House is receiving a massive update during the current refurbishment that will feature a substantial redesign and the addition of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. We love Trader Sam’s at Disneyland, so we’re really excited to see it come to the Polynesian. Other plans for the lobby are a bit more controversial, including the downsizing of the water feature (pictured above), but we really like the concept art, and are actually looking forward to the changes.


Above is how the bedding used to look. Below is how it looks now.


The rooms are a big plus at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and these might be some of the nicest at Walt Disney World after the big 2013 refurbishment. We’ve stayed in both the old rooms and the new rooms, and this review features both.


Above are the old bathrooms, below are the new ones.


As you can see, the Poly’s new rooms have light green walls, dual-sinks, and white bed comforters with tropical-print coverlets. They also received new carpet and minor design touches. Overall, the new rooms maintain the same feel as the old room in which we stayed, but with a more modern look. The big upgrade in terms of design seems to be the bedding. We think the new rooms are definitely nicer.


Above are the old closets (the new ones look basically the same). below is a view of the TV and re-designed couch.


In terms of commonalities between the old and new rooms, both are spacious, sleeping five adults with plenty of room to roam, and have space to sit, along with a desk for working and balconies with a table and chairs. Even these “old” rooms were fairly recently refurbished (mid-2000s, I believe), so they are still fairly nice.

In terms of dining, the Poly has three options that we love: Kona Cafe is an unheralded gem, Captain Cook’s is one of the best counter service restaurants at Walt Disney World, and ‘Ohana is one of Disney’s most popular restaurants. There’s also the popular Spirit of Aloha dinner show (which we have never done). While none of these are fine dining options, there are plenty of those at the Grand Floridian and Contemporary, which are a short monorail ride away. Fine dining in the Polynesian would be nice, but given the proximity of the other options, we aren’t penalizing the Poly for its lack of fine dining.

The pools at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort are fine. The main pool with its volcano slide is cool-looking, but we don’t consider the pool itself to be all that great. Kids are likely to love the slide going through the volcano, though. The quiet pool is nothing special, but it’s not bad. The Poly is probably about middle of the pack in terms of Deluxe Resort pools. The pool is slated to undergo a dramatic refurbishment for much of 2014 and possibly beyond.

Transportation is a complaint we have about every Magic Kingdom-area and Epcot-area Deluxe Resort, and that these high-priced hotels share buses while Pop Century (a Value Resort) does not continues to puzzle us. We feel this is a serious fault of all of these Deluxe Resorts, and something that Disney should correct. Fortunately, the Poly has convenient monorail or boat transportation to the Magic Kingdom, and many longhouses are a short walk from the Ticket & Transportation Center, which also offers monorail service to Epcot. Getting to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and the water parks is less convenient, but the convenient access to the two “big” parks is a big plus.


While we really like the Polynesian, we don’t consider it the end-all, be-all of Walt Disney World hotels, as it’s frequently considered. Why? Let’s take a look at room rates. Rates start at over $400/night and only go up from there. (Disclosure: our stay was comped.) For the rates Disney charges for the Polynesian Village Resort, it should be a luxury-class hotel. Although the theming is fun and as a fan of Disney history I love all of the little details, the Poly is not a luxury hotel.

While the rooms are nice overall, even the newly refurbished rooms lack some of the luxury amenities and finishing expected at a hotel with this price-point. Some guests might overlook this, either feeling that the themed design compensates for it, or not knowing what to expect from a hotel at a luxury price-point. It is a fair point to contend that the theming compensates, but there’s nothing to say that a room can’t be both well-themed and luxurious.

Off-site v. on-site hotels at Walt Disney World...which do you do?Our analysis: http://www.disneytouristblog.com/disney-world-hotels-off-site-on-site/

In any case, the rooms are not where the main criticism lies in terms of luxury–as the rooms are almost where they should be. The rest of the grounds and areas of the Polynesian are our main criticism. Admittedly, I’m a bit torn on this, as I love the remnants of the original “Vacation Kingdom of the World,” and I fear that these will disappear with any resort-wide overhaul, but there are many areas around the Polynesian that feel very dated and as if they’ve seen better days. In some ways, the overall theme does not successfully toe the line between tiki culture and outdated 1970s kitsch. Also, and this is a sticking point with us regarding all Walt Disney World Deluxe Resorts, but a luxury hotel concierge should be able to get hotel guests into sold out shows and booked restaurants. The Walt Disney World concierges don’t seem to serve the critical purposes they have at “real world” hotels at which we’ve stayed.


Of course, you pay a premium for everything at Walt Disney World, and I think a lot of this is due to location and immersion of the on-site experience. We understand this, and normally gladly pay the Disney premium. In this case, even accounting for that Disney premium, I think it’s tough to justify the Polynesian’s rates in terms of value for money. For a 1-night stay on January 5, 2014 (the start of Disney’s 35% off promo for Deluxes), the lowest-priced discounted night at the Poly would cost $313.72; for the Poly, this is about as low of a price as you’re going to find.

To put this into perspective, here are some rack rates for other hotels offering great locations: The Churchill in London is $341/night, Fairmont San Francisco is $249/night, Shorebreak Hotel (Huntington Beach, CA) is $209/night, and Waldorf Astoria Chicago is $279/night (the Orlando Waldorf is the same rate). With some effort, discounted rates for these other hotels could be found, too. Each of these hotels offers significantly better guest amenities than the Poly. For more on what might be right for you, check out our comprehensive On-Site v. Off-Site Hotels at Walt Disney World article.

Even with a generous discount (or, say, “free” dining), a Walt Disney World vacation that includes a stay at the Poly is still quite expensive. Granted, all of the Deluxe Resorts are pricey, but the only one as or more expensive than the Poly is Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, which made our list of the most overrated things at Walt Disney World, so you should know exactly where we stand on that. The rest of the Deluxes are all less expensive, in some cases significantly less so. Two of our favorite Deluxes, Animal Kingdom Lodge and Wilderness Lodge, would be around $207 each for that same night in January after discounts. Still expensive, but in line with what we’d expect for their location and quality.

I suppose this is probably the biggest sticking point–the Poly is over $100/night more than some of our other favorite Deluxe Resorts, without enough justification as to why. Sure, it has some advantages, and is arguably the “coolest” Walt Disney World resort-hotel, but $100+ per night of advantages? We just don’t see that. Everyone has their “line,” and it seems ours is approximately the Poly (and Grand Floridian). This doesn’t make the Poly a bad hotel by any stretch, but it’s just difficult for us to justify the price given the value for money we feel the hotel offers. We still love its ambiance, but I doubt we will return until we can find an off-season 35-40% off rate after the big Disney Vacation Club expansion concludes.

Overall, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is a great option for those who are dead-set on the Poly and want to splurge on a trip, for those who want this particular style of resort hotel and have budgeted for a Deluxe Resort, or if money is no issue. Despite feeling that it doesn’t quite offer the value for money that it should, we still love the Poly. Its theme and ambiance are exceptional, and it’s a great place to simply hang around and wander. However, given that price point, for now we feel that we can love it while enjoying meals or drinks there. When it comes to actually staying there, we can’t help but think what that money could buy us elsewhere. The Poly is an excellent Disney hotel with great history (to learn more about this history, check out the Tikiman’s site), and we’ll likely stay again once the Disney Vacation Club construction is completed, but for now, when we’re in the mood for a Deluxe Resort, we’d rather stay at one of our cheaper favorites. Hopefully Disney takes the opportunity while building the new Disney Vacation Club units to freshen up the entire resort. Trader Sam’s at Disneyland has proven there’s still demand for tiki culture like that found at the Poly (Disney certainly doesn’t need to go the realistic “Aulani route” with the Poly), so here’s hoping that Disney manages to blend that with a modern sense of luxury sufficient to justify the luxury price point the Poly commands. The new rooms are a good start, let’s see how the rest of the overhaul pans out!

Not sure which Walt Disney World hotel is right for you? Check out our Walt Disney World Hotel Reviews page, which offers quick-hit capsule reviews of the strengths and weaknesses of every Walt Disney World hotel, plus links to our reviews and photo pages for every hotel we have reviewed.

Looking for comprehensive Walt Disney World vacation tips? Make sure to read our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide.

Considering booking Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort? Visit Expedia for current promotions and discounted rates at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

Your Thoughts…

How do you feel about Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort? Do you agree that it’s a bit overpriced for what it is, or do you think it’s such an awesome place that it justifies the high nightly rates? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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39 Responses to “Disney’s Polynesian Resort Review”

  1. Kayla says:

    One of my favorites trips we stayed at the Poly, and my best memories of that trip involve the Poly. Yes, it has flaws, but the ambiance and feeling you get staying there outweigh those for me.

    As you mentioned, deluxes often have transportation problems. Often times people want a monorail resort, and outside of major theme differences, transportation can be a deciding factor. The Contemporary wins first place for walking to the Magic Kingdom. Being able to walk to the TTC gives the Polynesian second place. I suspect Grand Floridian is dead last for transportation of ALL Disney resorts.

    The next several years will be an important time for the Polynesian. The most upsetting aspect of this may be the rumored loss of the lobby water feature, which contributes so much to the ambiance of the resort. It will be an unfortunate loss of Walt Disney World history.

  2. Tyler Bliss says:

    Have you heard any rumblings on the potential addition of a Trader Sam’s at the Poly with the DVC remodel? I’m conflicted; I so wish we had a TS in WDW but kind of like that it is specific to DLR.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I’ve heard rumblings, but I think it’s all wishful thinking. I think it’s more likely to be built at Downtown Disney…hopefully with more capacity.

      This is one thing that I think should be “cloned.” I highly doubt Disney would have many details that overlapped, so it basically would be a different version of the same concept. That would work for me.

  3. Don Livingston says:

    I’ve always wanted to stay there but that price point is just absurd. We are staying at Wilderness Lodge in January for a fraction of the Poly Price and i will take Beach and yacht any day over the Poly for the price.

  4. Brandon Hanson says:

    While I agree somewhat with the argument the Poly is by far my favorite resort. But this is because it is a child’s paradise. My kids love everything about the Poly, especially the volcano pool and the monorail that comes directly to the resort. Also the rooms fit 4-5 people very comfortably. My daughter would live at the Neverland Club if she could. If I can afford it it is the only place we stay.
    Given that your comment about the concierge is spot on. I planned most everything by myself over the web, because the concierge was worthless. They called me for the first time 30 days out, almost everything was in stone by then. If you are paying for the club rooms there should be benefits, that is not one.

  5. Kelly M says:

    Wow!! $400 per night! I have always said when I win the lottery I will have 3 weeks at the Grand Floridian but I had no idea the Poly was so expensive! I genuinely thought the AK Lodge would have a higher rate. I am pretty stunned! (Although I have been travelling to Orlando from the UK since 1989 and never stayed on site at WDW – maybe I am jaded) :-)

    • John says:

      It’s amazing when I think that when I was a kid in the 1970s, my parents made reservations for the Poly. My guess is that if the 1970s rates were adjusted for inflation, it wouldn’t be anywhere near $400/night. Couldn’t do that today.

      • Tom Bricker says:

        It was MUCH cheaper back then, even accounting for inflation. In fairness, though, I’ve seen rooms from the 1970s, and even by those standards, the rooms were very, very basic. I know everyone (myself included) likes to look at Walt Disney World’s past with rose colored glasses, but the Poly’s rooms back then look pretty plain and ordinary.

  6. Betsy says:

    I totally agree with this review. I have never actually stayed at the Poly, but I too, enjoy spending time there. When I’m staying at a deluxe resort, I’d rather stay at one of the Epcot resorts. The ability to walk to and from TWO theme parks is invaluable – especially during busy seasons when transportation is crowded.

    I think the Poly is more popular with Disney nerds who feel nostalgic about their childhood trips to the “Vacation Kingdom of the World” than the general population. We had some first-time-to-Disney friends stay there not long ago while we were staying at Pop, and when we took them for drinks at Victoria Falls and dinner at Sanaa, they were stunned to find out that the AKL was much less expensive than the Poly. They thought the Poly was nice, but to them it seemed dated and was always crowded with people either visiting or staying there.

    If you can only travel during busy seasons, the Poly is just insane. Our friends paid $580 per night this past June, which just seems completely insane. We were there the same week they were and paid that much for our entire 5 night stay at Pop. Granted, we had an entirely different resort experience, but if you’re taking a trip where visiting the parks is the focus, it’s hard to justify the Poly at almost any time.

  7. Rose says:

    We stayed at the Poly 20 years ago at the suggestion of a friend. W were not impressed at all. I think somehow we managed to get the farthermost possible room away from the monorail and I felt like we had hiked getting to the mono and back. The kids were 7 & 8 at the time. Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge quickly became our year “go to resorts”. Now the kids are grown and now for our yearly trek to Disney (Feb for the Princes half marathon) we always stay at the Beach and Yacht Club. WE love the quick entrance close to the wine and beer.
    I do agree the grounds at the Poly were very nice. My son was 8 and he took an entire roll of film with a disposable camera of the ducks walking around. We still laugh at this because we are from the South and live on a farm. Ducks are not unusual for us.

  8. Samantha says:

    Since it is becoming a DVC spot, will people still be able to stay there that are not in the DVC?

  9. Dave says:

    I’ve stayed at the Poly 3 times, each for a week or more. It was expensive, no doubt about it. There is just something about it that makes it worthwhile, the theming, yes, maybe it’s just that with the buildings arranged as they are and shade of all the trees, etc. it doesn’t seem as hot, even when it’s steamy, but I don’t know, it’s just very relaxing, regardless of when you are there. It may also have to do with having a grand time on our honeymoon there and I’m just nostalgic.

    The size of the room is also nice if you have kids, gives them a little space to play during downtime. The space from the foot of the bed to the dresser/desk is one of those little things you could easily overlook, but makes a big difference in terms of how you feel in the room. The ability to walk around one another easily is a small thing, but one that silently makes your stay better.

    The main reason we stay is for those reasons, but also the monorail stop can’t be overvalued as far as my family goes. Not having to worry about planning time to wait for and go all over on the bus is big (at least to Epcot and MK). I don’t know if it makes the higher price worthwhile on its own, but when we’ve gone there, it was at my wife’s insistence and I love it, so you won’t get an argument from me. That said, we went once for a shorter stay at the Wilderness Lodge and loved that, too.

    I would LOVE to see a Trader Sam’s go in there! I’ve only seen photos of DL’s, but it looks great, can’t wait to see it in person someday. It would fit perfectly at the Poly, of course. I’m not as sure about Disney Springs, because of that theming, but who knows.

    I’m not sure if we’ll be able to stay at the poly again or not, we’re certainly not as wealthy as staying there 3 times would suggest, but I’m grateful for the times we have stayed there.

    I can’t disagree with anything you said in this article, though. I would add that the Spirit of Aloha is worthwhile, similar to Hoop-de-doo, it’s great to experience at least once. The food is decent and the show, while a little hokey in spots, is pretty entertaining, especially the fire dancer. We’ve been to it each time we stayed there and after the last one, thought that we could probably live without it next time. Not because we don’t like it, but for the price, it doesn’t hold up as well with repeated visits, unless you’re really really into the fire thing.

    My only word of caution would be that if you have infants and toddlers that will be asleep early in the evening and are light sleepers, look at the map of the resort and ask to avoid the sides of the longhouses that face the Luau Cove. The show is pretty loud and I can imagine what a headache it would be trying to get a little one to sleep when suddenly BOOMBOOMBOOM dingadingadingadinga BOOMBOOMBOOM of the drums. We had one facing it on our honeymoon, so it didn’t really bother us then, but if we’d had one when we were there with my daughter, it would have been insane.


    • Tom Bricker says:

      Trader Sam’s definitely wouldn’t fit thematically at Disney Springs, except in the sense that regardless of what backstory they try to paint on the Springs, it’s going to be an eclectic mix of stuff.

      I just think it’s more likely to wind up there, if anywhere. I hope I’m wrong, as the Poly is a much better fit. Actually, there are a few hotels that would be much better fits–but Poly is the best.

      • Mitch says:

        For all the love that trader sam’s receives due to its theme, which is phenomenal, I think people who have never been there need to realize-

        1. No reservations
        2. Most nights you are lucky to find a table or a seat at the bar
        3. It’s crowded, and the servers are overwhelmed and unlikely to pay you much attention
        4. The sheer volume of guests at WDW could potentially make experiencing a visit to trader sam’s more of an exercise in frustration than enjoyment.
        5. It is the polar opposite of a family friendly atmosphere- expect drunken college students and bachelorette parties, not vacationers

      • Tom Bricker says:

        There would definitely need to be significant changes to Trader Sam’s to make it work at WDW. A size increase is probably chief among those.

  10. Tink says:

    We adore the Polynesian, and I keep bugging my husband that when their DVC opens, that’s when we’ll sign. We’ve been to Hawaii several times and the Poly makes me feel like we’ve just stepped off the plane, its wonderful! We also got engaged on the Poly’s beach, so it will always hold a special place in our hearts.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I wonder what the point charts and demand will look like for the Poly. We’d love to stay at the DVC there, but would only buy more points via resale, and it wouldn’t be our home resort.

      • Jacky says:

        As a DVC member I’m happy the Poly is going to be DVC because like most people I wouldn’t stay there because the cost of the room is completely absurd. I love the Poly. We go every trip to Kona and O’hana (The Spirit of Aloha show is good to experience just ONCE). But I’m 100 percent you will have to sit in front of your computer and sleep with your phone trying to get a reservation.

  11. Marianne says:

    My husband and I stayed at the Polynesian for our honeymoon this past summer – we loved it! We got offered a lower rate at other hotels, but wanted to stick with the Poly since both of our parents also spent their honeymoons at the Polynesian. It’s really a sweet coincidence :-)
    We loved our stay and love that we have carried on a “family tradition”
    While we likely will not stay there on every visit, it will always bring up happy memories!

  12. Miss Emma says:

    Ahhh…the Polynesian. I agree it’s too expensive, but I just can’t help but love it! And you’re so right about the sunsets and sunrises – completely magical. Glad you liked my photos of the new room design, thanks for including the link!

  13. Skipper Kelly says:

    Great review. I’ve never stayed at the Poly but have stayed at other deluxe resorts, and just the pool alone at the Beach Club is enough for me to choose that hotel over the Poly.

  14. JB Meier says:

    For our family, we view the Poly more as a destination than potential lodging after being priced out due to the cost. We try to “make a night” of visiting the Poly for dinner, Water Pageant and Wishes and have gotten to the point where it is as much of a attraction for the kids as the actual parks.

    Great write up, and the DVC angle is intriguing. I’m sure they will offer a small monetary incentive for joining the Poly early, but if it’s point chart is anything like the Grand Flo’s then with the minimum 150 point purchase you could only stay for a full week during two of the five seasons, and that’s with a Standard View. Pretty pricey if you ask me…

  15. Heath says:

    The Poly is expensive (bordering on ridiculously expensive) but it’s a worthwhile splurge every few years. We stayed there when our daughter was 8 weeks old. She was obviously too small for a parks vacation, but the convenience of DME, luggage delivery, and nice restaurants where others wood have kids made us opt to visit WDW and do a resort only stay.

    We had a balcony where we could watch the palm trees. We rode the free resort boat that crosses Seven Seas Lagoon to MK. We rode the TTC boat and could walk back to our room. We walked along the path by Luau Cove and the wedding pavilion to visit GF for their restaurants. Wevwatchedvthe Electric Light Pageant at night. There was so much to do, we didn’t miss the parks.

    We would never stay at Poly if it were a park focused vacation, but for a resort only trip, it’s perfect! It was like going to Hawaii on a short flight and cost less.

  16. Robert says:

    The Poly is expensive but the price is not nearly as bad when considering the cheaper Deluxe Resorts only sleep 4 for standard rooms and you have to upgrade to a suite or club level room pushing up the cost significantly. For my wife and three boys, the Poly is one of the most economical Deluxe options and we are super excited for our trip this December.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      It’s my understanding that about half of the Deluxe Resorts sleep 5. I’m not sure which ones, but I know it’s more than a couple.

      • Robert says:

        You are right. But the 2 deluxe resorts you mention as some of your favorites (Animal Kingdom Lodge and Wilderness Lodge – my favorites too by the way) only sleep 4 in a standard room. All of the rest of the deluxe resorts can accommodate 5. For our family of 5, either of the lodges would have been 800+ for a suite which is the level that can accommodate 5.
        Too bad too because I love the lodges. We will be making trips to eat and spend some time in the incredible surroundings there since we can’t splurge on the suites.

      • Bernadette says:

        Don’t forget the garden wing of the Contemporary – we stayed there in 2012, and it was by far the least expensive Deluxe option for a family of five.

  17. Tom Phelps says:

    Our family stayed at the Poly decades ago when I think the rates were about $240.00 a night. At the time, it seemed to be worth the money. We rented boats there, swam in the lake as well as the pool, did the luau etc. The restaurant wasn’t called Ohana back then, but we ate the marvelous original version of Tonga Toast at a character breakfast hosted by Minnie I believe. The kids loved it! The location was sublime with the TTC and monorail. Trust me, bringing home two kids after midnight and a full (EEMH Unofficial Touring Plans) day of touring is much easier at a monorail hotel. Here’s the kicker though. The year we stayed there was the last year the main Poly pool had a ten foot deep end with a diving board. The year after that, the diving board and 10 foot deep end were removed for insurance reasons. They also had one or more nice slides in a rock formation. In adition we were chastized for swimimg in the lake that year by our Kissamee resident relatives. Seems there was a very dangerous water parasite problem in Florida lakes that year. We have stayed at the Beach Club resorts with its “Mini Waterpark.” I think it has the Poly beat, but if they could only get that monorail to stop there. Change is constant, but all change is not for the better.

  18. Very good, honest review. While I don’t agree with any of the areas being dated since I know how often things are replaced around the resort, I think this is a good review and I would like to share it with my readers.

    I do agree it is getting too expensive there. That is the only reason I am considering DVC. Otherwise I agree I will not be staying there unless I get a big discount.

    You should be happy to know that Trader Sam’s is going into the Polynesian and I also hope they make it bigger but I’m not sure the area they are putting it into will allow it to be much bigger at all.



  19. Sue says:

    We just stayed for four nights at a discounted rate during the week after labor day. This was our second time to the Poly. The only other visit to Disney, we stayed in AKL. We have two boys, who on the first trip were 9 and 6 and the second 14 and 11. It was fantastic, and I’d choose it over the AKL for transportation convenience alone. The theme is so fun. We stayed on the concierge level the second time, and they were soooo accommodating! The continental breakfast and dessert bar at night in the concierge lounge came in handy for us, to get breakfast quickly and on our way in the am. Our room looked out over the lagoon, right at the castle, and it WAS magical. It IS expensive, and they almost priced themselves out of the running for us, but it was worth every penny. Much better for us than AKL which is a cool hotel, but I didn’t like the bus rides, and it didn’t quite measure up to the Poly for me. Ohanas and Captain cooks are favorites. Also you can walk to the GF to their restaurants as well. Die hard Poly lover here!

  20. Julie says:

    We stayed for one week at the Poly for a December Christmas trip. The grounds are lovely but we were located a far walk from the main building. Short walk to the transpo centre however which was nice. The pool was lovely and the grounds beautiful but our family did not like the food court at all. We prefer to save money and stay at a moderate resort, and we also like the slightly “funner” atmosphere we feel at mods.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Surprised that you didn’t like Captain Cook’s, but I think the point about ambiance at the Moderates being nearly as good (or just as fun) is a good one. Personally, I prefer the ambiance of the Polynesian, but for the money, I’ll take a Moderate!

  21. Stephen says:

    Tom, what have you heard as far as rumors that Disney will be tearing down the GCH?

  22. Steve says:

    I like that you bring up the point about the concierge. I don’t think that I have encountered a concierge in the past 15 years at Disney World that has been able to do anything out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, the Disney concierge has basically been replaced with the MyMagic app.

    I would love to see the return of a ‘better’ concierge at the Disney Deluxe Resorts. Isn’t that what they are there for?

    All in all, I love the Polynesian and enjoy the last original pieces it holds on to. I’m not ready for an Aulani clone or anything like that.

    Thanks for the awesome article!

  23. Jess says:

    Loved reading this. Will be staying here for three nights. never stayed at the Poly but love it. We’re going so I can run the Glass Slipper Challenge next month and since we’re not going to any parks decided to splurge and enjoy the resort…will be the only time we ever stay here… Thank you so much for the review. Will only be eating at the Poly restaurants as well. Really looking forward to trying Captain Cooks!

  24. Janel Bader says:

    Don’t do it! we have stayed here for years and they have lost all customer service skills. They first gave us a construction view room! Then told us we had to go to the Grand Floridian to have 3 copies made for my daughters homework! The lifeguards at the pool were like, drill sargeants! The maid service was knocking at our door every morning at 7:30! Our room was very dirty and outdated. This resort used to be so accomadating and now I feel no need to return

  25. Jon Rolfe says:

    I have but one question: Will I still be able to get a Lapu Lapu????

  26. Karl says:

    Me and my extended family just stayed at the Poly back in December 2013. Well, I have to say, I was not impressed. Our room was dated, doors on the cabinets were loose and nearly falling off, the mini-fridge stunk, sliding doors were nearly impossible to open, bathroom countertop was chipped, shower had moldy caulk around it. But the biggest shock was the nearly $700/night cost.

    Everyone’s comments about transportation were spot on. We waited 1.5hours for a bus to DAK, and 0.75hours for the bus to DHS. Completely unacceptable. Oh, and during the week we were there, the monorail stopped operation for 1+ hours on two separate occasions.

    I love WDW and the whole Disney experience. But I would not stay at the Poly again.

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